Massage For Plantar Fasciitis, Foot Pain and Heel Pain
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a disorder that results in pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. The pain is usually most severe with the first steps of the day or following a period of rest. Pain is also frequently brought on by bending the foot and toes up towards the shin and may be worsened by a tight Achilles tendon. The condition typically comes on slowly. In about a third of people both legs are affected.
Heel spurs are frequently found in plantar fasciitis are are often blamed for the pain. But, it is unclear if they have a role in causing the condition as some people with heel spurs do not report any foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is a disorder of the insertion site of the ligament on the bone characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring. As inflammation plays a lesser role, many feel the condition should be renamed plantar fasciosis.
However, whether it's called plantar faciitis or plantar fasciosis it's often true that the pain felt in the heel and bottom of the foot may come from myofascial trigger points in the muscles of the foot or lower leg. Trigger points and other muscular and connective tissue problems often respond well to massage therapy and bodywork.
Trigger Points Affecting The Feet
In the trigger point illustrations above, the "X" is the approximate location of the trigger point while the red areas indicates where the pain is referred/felt from the trigger point. The darker red areas are the most commonly felt and intense areas of pain. The lighter red (stippled) areas are those that are less intense or less commonly felt. These are just a few of the trigger points which may cause foot pain similar to plantar fasciitis - there are more.
Massage Therapy and Bodywork for Foot Pain, Heel Pain, or Plantar Fasciitis
Massage Therapy and Bodywork are often effective in the treatment of foot and heel pain like plantar fasciitis. Many instances of foot and heel pain can be traced to muscle tension and muscular trigger points in the foot and lower leg, Deep Tissue Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy are often able to provide partial or complete relief through release of trigger points along with focused stretching like Muscle Energy Techniques. While massage therapy treatment of foot and heel pain often concentrates on the feet and lower legs, there might be issues involving the knee or hip.
Shock wave therapy. This uses sound waves directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. It's usually used for chronic plantar fasciitis that hasn't responded to more-conservative treatments. This procedure might cause bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling.
Injections. Injecting a type of steroid medication into the tender area may provide temporary pain relief.
Night splints. A physical therapist or doctor may recommend that you wear a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep.
Pain relievers/NSAIDS may be recommended by your doctor to help relieve pain and inflammation if present. Do not start any medication regiment for your foot pain/plantar fasciitis without consulting your doctor.
Surgery to repair tears in connective tissue or to remove bone spurs may be warranted if the pain is severe and has not been relieved with other appropriate manual or medical treatments. Your physician is the best person to advise you.
The information in this article has been provided for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide a medical diagnosis, only a licensed physician may make a diagnosis. If you feel that you have the symptoms of plantar fasciitis please see your physician for a proper diagnosis and plan of treatment which may include massage therapy and bodywork. Foot and heel pain can indicate a serious condition where medical attention is necessary.
If, after consulting your physician, you would like to pursue treatment of symptoms attributed to plantar fasciitis with Massage Therapy and Bodywork please contact me at my San Antonio Massage and Bodywork practice, Massage By Ben, at 210-269-3314.
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